Expanding the Role of Nurse Practitioners in Hospitals
McGuinty Government Helping to Improve Hospital Wait Time
Nurse Practitioners (NPs) may soon be able to admit and discharge patients from hospital, helping to make the health system more efficient and saving time for patients.
The province is proposing changes to the Public Hospitals Act to give NPs the authority to admit and discharge patients from hospital. Hospitals would have the ability to allow NPs to discharge patients beginning July 1, 2011 and the ability to admit patients in July 1, 2012.
The role of NPs has been expanded in recent years to take full advantage of their high level of training and skills. Nurse Practitioners can prescribe medications, order diagnostic tests and are leading North America's first Nurse Practitioner -Led Clinics.
This change would make Ontario the first Canadian province to allow NPs to admit and discharge hospital patients. More importantly, this change would help improve the discharge process and help patients get home to their families sooner.
Today's announcement is part of the McGuinty government's plan to provide better access to health care services while improving quality and access for patients.
- There are currently 1,850 Nurse Practitioners entitled to practice in Ontario.
- The United States, New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom currently allow Nurse Practitioners to admit and discharge patients.
- Currently only physicians, dentists and midwives may admit and discharge hospital patients in Ontario.
- Ontario ranks first in Canada in hip and knee replacements and cardiac bypass surgery, and second in cataract surgery, based on national benchmarks established in 2005.
- Twenty-five new Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics will be in operation by the end of 2011-2012.
“Ontario's nurse practitioners are leading the way in North America. Now we want to give them the ability to admit and discharge patients, which would help patients get home to their families sooner.”
“This is great news for nurse practitioners and for patients. With these changes, the government is recognizing the expertise of NPs and the increased contribution they can make to health care delivery.”
“Nurse practitioners are a central part of Ontario's health care system. Authorizing them to admit and discharge hospital in-patients maximizes their contribution and improves patient's access to care.”
“Ontario's solid leadership with NP utilization serves to advance the quality care agenda and improve patients' outcomes.”